Rockland executive: Cellphone companies didn't maintain equipment, causing outages during storm

Rockland County Executive Ed Day is calling out cellphone companies he says put lives on the line by not maintaining equipment during Tropical Storm Isaias.

News 12 Staff

Aug 7, 2020, 9:08 PM

Updated 1,382 days ago

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Rockland County Executive Ed Day is calling out cellphone companies he says put lives on the line by not maintaining equipment during Tropical Storm Isaias.
Day says during maintenance trips of their own, equipment county crews discovered cellular towers that had dead batteries, generators with no fuel and no teams from these cellular companies even attempting to get them up and running.
That means there was no plan B for emergencies like Isaias, he says.
On a given day, the Rockland County Dispatch Center receives an estimated 500 calls, but since the storm, the center has been on the quiet side, which Day says could be a result of the neglected maintenance of cellular towers compounding the power outages.
"Could you imagine what could have happened if that phone call failed, not because of a dead zone, not because of a problem of the phone, but a lack of doing common sense maintenance?" said Day.
The county executive is now cracking down on what he calls an ongoing issue and is working on a new law requiring towers are serviced and maintained, with hefty fines for companies that drop the ball.
Verizon says it's deploying portable generators as it works to restore service. Altice, which is the parent company of News 12, says power grids are experiencing prolonged outages, impacting connectivity, but crews are mobilized and actively working to restore service.
AT&T told News 12 that "we maintain our equipment and perform regular audits to make sure it is working properly. Any suggestion otherwise is incorrect. We have been affected by storm damage and long term power outages in the area, but our network is currently operating at nearly 90% of normal in Rockland County."
YOUR PHOTOS: Tropical Storm Isaias
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